Temperature preferences of four subterranean termite species (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) and temperature-dependent survivorship and wood-consumption rate.
This study examined temperature preferences of four subterranean termite species, Coptotermes gestroi Wasmann, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, Reticulitermes virginicus (Banks) and Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), and effects of temperature on their survivorship and wood-consumption rate. Termite preference was tested on temperature gradient along a metal bridge divided into 12 zones. The number of termites in each zone was recorded to compute mean temperature preference values. The result showed that active C. gestroi, C. formosanus, R. virginicus and R. flavipes were found in temperature ranges of 13.0-38.6, 9.3-38.1, 8.2-36.7 and 5.2-34.0°C, respectively. Reticulitermes spp. preferred significantly lower temperatures than Coptotermes spp. Within the temperature range of 20-25°C, survivorship and wood-consumption rate were not significantly different among four species. R. flavipes survived at 10°C but not at 35°C. C. gestroi did not survive at 10°C, but the wood-consumption rate at 35°C was significantly higher than those of other temperatures in the range of 15-30°C. The results account for the geographic distributions of the four termite species and may be used to predict the potential areas of non-native invasions.